Simple Beyond Communion

shadows

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Two whistles, one for each,
and familiar sounds draw close in darkness—
cadence of hoof on hardened bottomland,
twinned blowing of air through nostrils curious, flared.
They come deepened and muscular movements
conjured out of sleep: each small noise and scent
heavy with earth, simple beyond communion…

and in the night, their mares’ eyes shine, reflecting stars,
the entire, outer light of the world here.
~Jane Hirschfield from “After Work”

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leabubba

Why Bother?

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For a bright and promising summer solstice morning:

Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,

then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?

…and if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.
~Billy Collins from “Morning”

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Surrender My Shadow


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It is so still now, I hear the horse
Clear his nostrils.
He has crept out of the green places behind me.
Patient and affectionate, he reads over my shoulder
These words I have written.
He has lived a long time, and he loves to pretend
No one can see him.
Last night I paused at the edge of darkness,
And slept with green dew, alone.
I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow
To the shadow of a horse.
~James Wright from “Sitting in a small screenhouse on a summer morning”

 

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Farm Rhythms and Seasons

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photo by Lea Gibson

When I pull open the barn doors,
every morning
and each evening,
as my grandfathers did
one hundred years ago,
seven rumbling voices
rise in greeting.
We exchange scents,
nuzzle each others’ ears.

I do my chores faithfully
as my grandfathers once did–
draw fresh water
into buckets,
wheel away
the pungent mess underfoot,
release an armful of summer
from the bale,
reach under heavy manes
to stroke silken necks.

I don’t depend
on our horses’ strength
and willingness to
don harness
to carry me to town
or move the logs
or till the soil
as my grandfathers did.

Instead,
these soft eyed souls,
born on this farm
two long decades ago,
are simply grateful
for my constancy
morning and night
to serve their needs
until the day comes
they need no more.

And I depend on them
to depend on me
to be there
to open the doors;
their low whispering welcome
gives voice
to the blessings of
living on a farm
ripe with rhythms and seasons,
as if today and tomorrow are
just like one hundred years ago.

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photo by Emily Dieleman

Best of 2013 Barnstorming Photos

decsunlone fir taken last New Year’s Eve 2012

These photos (unless identified otherwise) were all taken this year with my Canon Powershot pocket camera.
Here’s to capturing more moments and preserving memories in 2014…

tulipsamSam stopping to smell the spring tulips

irisrainbearded iris

marshmallow fields forevermarshmallow fields forever

buggediris (and bugs) in Ireland

photo by Emily Gibson

The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland

Rhodendron forest Rowallen Gardens, County Down, Ireland

Rhodendron forest Rowallen Gardens, County Down, Ireland

waterlilies2water lilies in Mount Stewart Gardens, Northern Ireland

pastoralpond2Mount Stewart pond, Northern Ireland

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Scottish kitty snoozing in a Galloway B&B sunroom

sunsetdaisysummer sunset on the farm

grasssunsummer sunset (and bug)

benchPoint No Point, Vancouver Island

sunsetjuly164Sunset, Strait of Juan de Fuca

nest2almost the world’s largest hornet’s nest (on the farm)

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summer evening rainbow

farmgirlsHaying crew

dawn7251summer morning haze

tammingasunseta joyful evening on the hill

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hidingouta front porch visitor in a box of Asian pears

morningweb2spider web in morning fog

abandoned schoolhouse near Rapalje, Montana (actually from 2012)

abandoned schoolhouse near Rapalje, Montana (photo taken in 2012)

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thistlebugsthistle full of ants

closerfull moon sunset

same pair, two months ago

Doe and fawn, WWU campus

rain8After an August rain

sunset8314evening on the farm

dandy4dandelion at dusk

sunset9161sunset sky

sunrise830summer morning rain

webdrizzle2web architecture

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hydrangeaturninghydrangea

hydrangealace3spent hydrangea

creeperchurchvirginia creeper

rainyclothesline3too wet to hang clothes

sunrise10611looking north to the Canadian Coastal Range

fog101948October fog

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wwucolorfallen leaves on the plexiglass cover of a WWU bicycle rack

myohmyMountain shadow of Mt Baker at dawn

firstfrost3first frost

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sunset12713Twin Sisters

walnut4squirrel hollowed walnut shell

sundayafternoonAutumn landscape

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rainyrose5rainy rose

rainbowsunrise2morning rainbow at dawn

solstice15last evening of autumn, first snow

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snow12201324snow on last day of autumn

20131230-080912.jpgSwan in downtown Tokyo in December

And the changing plum trees…

photo by Chris Lovegren from our farm hilltop, Easter Sunrise 2012

plum trees photo by Chris Lovegren from our farm hilltop, Easter Sunrise Service

sunrise1042fall foggy morning

twinlayerslate October

plumtwinswinterNew Year’s Eve

A Melancholy Nature

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wwusouth

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A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn. 
The sky was hung with various shades of gray,
and mists hovered about the distant mountains
– a melancholy nature. 
Every landscape is,
as it were,
a state of the soul,
and whoever penetrates into both
is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail.
~Henri Frederic Amiel

 

What is melancholy
at first glance
glistens bejeweled
when studied up close.

It isn’t all sadness~
there is solace in knowing
the landscape and I share
an inner world of tears.

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Thanking the Light

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Now a red, sleepy sun above the rim
Of twilight stares along the quiet weald,
And the kind, simple country shines revealed
In solitudes of peace, no longer dim.
The old horse lifts his face and thanks the light,
Then stretches down his head to crop the green.
All things that he has loved are in his sight;
The places where his happiness has been
Are in his eyes, his heart, and they are good.
~Siegfried Sassoon from “Break of Day”

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The Sheer Sheen of Grace

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Don’t grieve that it’s gone, wonder that it was.
Laugh that you lived and dance that you dared.
Inhale that it happened — and it was grace.
And I memorize the light — that is how to make the smallest life big and grand –

The best way to prepare for what’s ahead is to be present to what is now.
Be present to the gift of now.
And right then –

the sheer sheen of grace on everything lights.
~Ann Voskamp www.aholyexperience.com

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Dazzle Gradually

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sunset92horses
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
~Emily Dickinson from “Tell All the Truth But Tell it Slant…”

We can’t always handle all the truth all at once.  It is best for the truth to slowly bring us out of the shadows where we tend to hide to become an illuminating back drop to our lives that transforms, depending on the slant.

We begin a two dimensional silhouette and, in the light of the Truth, become fully realized, bright shining and dazzled.

And dazzling to behold.

I once was lost, but now am found.  Was blind but now I see.

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